Posted : 03/01/2007
With gas prices heading higher each year, many people are looking for resourceful ways to save on fuel, such as taking the bus, the train, riding a bike or car-pooling to work. Yet even with these money-saving tactics, drivers are still paying for full auto insurance coverage on their vehicles.
As we all know, there are some corners that just can't be cut. Or so we think! Many auto insurance companies are starting to consider a new insurance program that would offer consumers a discounted rate for reduced car usage. In fact, some insurance providers are already offering trial programs.
One big supporter of this new program is the Environmental Defense, anorganization currently promoting a Pay-As-You-Drive Insurance (PAYD) program to auto insurance companies throughout the United States. This innovative concept would link insurance policies to an odometer rather than just a renewal date on the calendar.
According to the Environmental Defense, PAYD would not only help save consumers money; it would also help reduce pollution. "PAYD provides financial incentive for driving less and is expected to reduce driving and congestion by 10 to12%", states an Environmental Defense official. "Driving less reduces air pollution, toxic runoff from roads, and impacts on climate."
PAYD would also make auto insurance more affordable for drivers by giving them more control of their auto insurance premiums - a change the National Organization of Women's Cents Per Mile group would be happy to see happen. According to NOW's website, low-income drivers often have to bear a higher insurance burden, unjustified by their lower mileage. This burden results in drivers dropping or not renewing their auto insurance policies. The new program will help to alleviate this problem, decreasing the number of non-insured drivers on the road while helping to reduce the financial strain on low-income and part-time drivers.
Exactly how does the PAYD program work?
Currently, there are two proposed techniques that could be used to detect car mileage usage. The first method involves installing a proprietary odometer that has an embedded cell phone that occasionally calls in your mileage to your insurance company. The other technique would entail installing a GPS device into an embedded phone, such as OnStar, to detail your actual routes.
Many groups object to this method because of the possible privacy infringement. However, the GPS device does have its advantages. Not only would it track your mileage, it would also detail where and when you drove. For instance, if you were traveling in a congested area during rush hour it might cost you more, as opposed to the savings you could potentially receive for driving during off-peak hours.
How much would it cost?
Auto insurance companies would convert a portion of your current annual rate into a per mile fee. Your auto insurance company would assign your car to one of its rate groups according to your zip code, type, and usage. Once your per mile rate is determined you will more than likely be asked to pay an upfront, set fee for your predetermined number of miles. Depending on how much you drive, you could either receive a rebate or pay more.
Testing the waters.
Currently there are two pilot programs underway in the United States. One program is through OnStar, who has joined with a national insurance company to offer a mileage discount program. Offered exclusively to motorists who own GM vehicles equipped with OnStar, this program will provide owners with the opportunity to earn an extra discount based on the miles they've driven. GM motorists have the potential to receive up to a 40% discount and save hundreds of dollars annually. Discounts are given to motorists who have driven less than 15,000 miles per year - the lower the vehicle mileage, the more significant the discount. Presently the program is only available in Arizona, Indiana, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
The other program, being offered in Minnesota, is designed for drivers that own a 1996 model year or older. This test study uses a matchbox-sized electronic device that is plugged into the owner's onboard diagnostics (ODBII) port. Once set up, the sensor detects how much, how fast and when the vehicle is in use. From there, the information is used to calculate the customers discount. This free, voluntary program can potentially save participants up to 25% on their car insurance a considerable discount when you are trying to conserve funds.
Looking for ways to save on auto insurance, but don't have a PAYD pilot program in your state? Logon to Insurance.com's auto quote comparison tool. There, you'll be able to compare car insurance rates from up to 12 insurance providers, helping you save time and money on your auto insurance.
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